To quote a TV hero from when I was much younger, “I love it when a plan comes together!” Post-metal five piece Echoes clearly have a plan, and if their debut EP “With An Eye On The Shoreline And A Hand To The Sea” is anything to go by, it’s coming together very nicely indeed.
The sound they produce is heavy and atmospheric; expansive and also intimate. They have mastered the concept of dynamics; each of the three songs here makes fine use of contrasting loud and quiet passages, of musical light and shade. Not content to simply produce a continual wall of sound, they know when to turn it up and when to calm it all down.
‘Leaving None Behind’ kicks off the EP with a big sound; it’s undeniably atmospheric for something so heavy. As the screamed vocals begin, the instrumentation is pared right back, accentuating the contrast between the two. With this kind of music the melody is carried by the instruments, making the vocals all the more striking. Oh, and if you’ve got a good stereo, the tuning of the guitars, bass and drums will shake your windows.
‘Rivers’ starts with no introduction, just a battery of guitars and unrelenting, almost desperate vocals; the listener is immediately caught in the fierce current of the rivers of the title. We’re told in no uncertain terms ‘They drag me down’, and the song suddenly and quite unexpectedly stops in its tracks. It’s a remarkably brave thing for Echoes to do. Imagine being caught in the noise of water rushing all around you, then as you sink beneath the surface, sound is immediately muffled and all is calm beneath the raging torrent. It’s a shocking moment. And then you burst into the air once again and the song continues. Echoes have clearly put thought into the structure of this song; not content to present a predictable composition, they subvert expectations, while all the time building back up to the riff that started the whole piece.
‘Safe It Seems’ uses the loud/quiet dynamic to good effect, as big guitar and bass gives way to reverb heavy picked chords, before turning up the volume once more. There are several eyes to this musical storm.
“With An Eye On The Shoreline And A Hand To The Sea” is an impressive first release, displaying mature song writing and a great deal of restraint. That doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy because it most definitely is; but Echoes have a thorough understanding of when big can be better and also when less can be more.